Several industries have been affected by the spread of COVID-19, across the globe. In the United States, several states have decided to cut down or eliminate non-essential operations of businesses in the hopes of stemming the influx of people infected with the highly contagious virus. However, online poker has continued to thrive, especially considering that players now have more time on their hands. In the US, PokerStars is planning to launch their Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) early so players have something to do during quarantine.
A First for Pennsylvania
According to Online Poker Report, the first ever Spring Championship of Online Poker for Pennsylvania will begin on April 4th. This will be the first time the even takes place in the state and will offer $2 million in guaranteed prize money. With such a big amount of cash up for grabs, it will not be surprising to find a record number of poker players taking part in the PACOOP.
Online poker has been quite popular in Pennsylvania since launching last year. PokerStars is the only operator offering services in the state and each month, more and more players are taking advantage of the cash games and tournament options provided.
NJCOOP To Arrive Later
In New Jersey, the SCOOP will begin a week later with a start date set of April 11th. In both states, the poker series is pending approval from state regulators. Approval should be given, particularly since many industries are unable to offer services due to the spread of the virus.
For the series in the Garden State, the total prize pool guarantees will be set at $1.2 million. The prize money is noticeably different, and this is a common occurrence when comparing online poker gaming in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The number of players taking part in NJ is far lower than those in PA, so the prize pools are lower. In many cases of similarly scheduled events. NJ has seen less participation which indicates a smaller prize pool overall.
Online Poker Surging
Overall, online poker participation is surging due to the need for social distancing. Experts recommend that individuals stay six feet apart and with many people staying home, there is not much to do. In areas where online poker is legalized, the number of players taking part is steadily increasing.
Partypoker and GGNetwork have seen increases as much as 50% over a short period of time. Traffic has jumped 50% in Italy, a region that has been hard hit by the coronavirus. The same increase can be seen in the US via PokerStars sites.
In Pennsylvania, the state has about 3-4x more players in ring games than NJ. Tournament participation can vary.
Interestingly, this virus might provide a boost to online poker and generate an interest in players that have not been seen in years. In the US particularly, iPoker has struggled to gain any ground.